3 Jun 2022 9:00 AM GMT
The Orissa High Court has held that it is not mandatory for a victim to forward his/her claims for compensation to the appropriate authority through the Legal Services Authorities (LSA). Further, it clarified that the LSAs are there only to provide assistance to claimants for making representations to the administration. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Arindam Sinha...
The Orissa High Court has held that it is not mandatory for a victim to forward his/her claims for compensation to the appropriate authority through the Legal Services Authorities (LSA). Further, it clarified that the LSAs are there only to provide assistance to claimants for making representations to the administration. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Arindam Sinha observed,
"It could not be shown that Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 mandates claimants of victim compensation to forward their claims through the authority to the administration. The administration has a policy on compensation. The authority merely renders assistance to claimants in moving the administration."
The petitioner is a sixty-seven years old lady. Her husband was murdered in 2019. After his murder, who was the sole earning member of the house, the petitioner had applied for victim compensation at the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Koraput. Though she approached the DLSA a number of times, every time she was told by the staff that they had not received any such order from the authorities.
Thereafter, she sought information under RTI from the DLSA Office, which made it clear that a case for victim compensation was indeed registered in the name of the petitioner. However, getting no positive results from the DLSA, the petitioner was constrained to approach the High Court under its writ jurisdiction for redressal of her grievances, causing out of inaction of the concerned authorities.
Mr. S. Bag, advocate appearing for the petitioner, submitted that his client is widow of a person, who was murdered. By this writ petition she sought direction for payment of victim compensation. He further mentioned that his client had approached the District Legal Services Authority. A case was registered there. However, nothing has happened, for which his client was constrained to move to the High Court.
On the other hand, Mr. A.K. Sharma, Additional Government Advocate appearing on behalf of State, submitted that the Legal Services Authority is to move petitioner's case before the appropriate authority.
The Court acknowledged that the petitioner produced a copy of FIR dated 13th April, 2019 along with death certificate showing date of death of her husband as 9th April, 2019. Also, the said FIR was filed against unknown persons. Perusal of the FIR revealed that the occurrence of offence reported to be between 9th April, 2019 and 10th April, 2019. Information received at the police station on 13th April, 2019.
The Court further noted, the informant as mentioned in the FIR is uncle of the deceased. Contents of the first information was that the deceased had gone missing on 9th April, 2019 at 8.00 P.M. and was found the next day in the field of one Bhaga Santa. Hence, it held, it is clear that dead body was found, since the death certificate says death was on 9th April, 2019.
It clarified that there is no mandate under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to move applications for victim compensation compulsorily through DLSAs/LSAs. Accordingly, it concluded,
"Court has taken pain to analyze the facts for assistance of the administration in executing its policy on compensation. On behalf of State, it is submitted that opposite party no. 3 is to recommend. Petitioner will approach opposite party no.3, with this order. Said opposite party is directed to deal with petitioner's claim for compensation, recommend the same for forthwith disbursal of compensation and inform her the result within three weeks of approach."
Case Title: Sukuludei Santa v. Govt. of Odisha & Ors.
Case No.: W.P.(C) No. 12252 of 2022
Order Dated: 18th May 2022
Coram: Justice Arindam Sinha
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. S. Bag, Advocate
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. A.K. Sharma, Additional Government Advocate
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 100
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